Tuesday, October 11, 2016

UPDATE: Five hours late, the Broadway Bridge finally falls

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 2:52 PM

click to enlarge BLAST BUT: No falling down bridge in immediate aftermath of blasts.
  • BLAST BUT: No falling down bridge in immediate aftermath of blasts.
click to enlarge THAR SHE GOES: At last, success.
  • THAR SHE GOES: At last, success.
click to enlarge downt2.jpg

click to enlarge INSPECTING: Crane is being used for workers to inspect spots where steel was cut and explosives placed. All appeared to work, a highway department employee told our Brian Chilson. But somehow, the bridge held.
  • INSPECTING: Crane is being used for workers to inspect spots where steel was cut and explosives placed. All appeared to work, a highway department employee told our Brian Chilson. But somehow, the bridge held.
UPDATE: Shortly before 3 p.m., the weakened Broadway Bridge's central arches finally collapsed into the Arkansas River, about five hours later than planned.

Here's what we wrote earlier:

Oops. A series of controlled explosions were set off shortly after 10 a.m. this morning to bring down the center arches of the Broadway Bridge. It still stands, in severely weakened condition, and the highway department and contractors are trying to decide what to do next.

Danny Straessle of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department explained to Channel 4 that the demolition contractor had made cuts in steel to pre-weaken the structure before the explosions. "It should have brought the bridge down. We're assessing what happened."

click to enlarge AND THEN: A big crowd was on hand to watch the bridge come down. But...
  • AND THEN: A big crowd was on hand to watch the bridge come down. But...

It's a problem.

"It's extremely weakened and extremely dangerous," Straessle said. "We can't go near it because it could fall any moment."

He said the bridge was no danger to the area. But the failure of the demolition to occur holds possibilities for a longer disruption of river traffic than was originally planned. The highway department had 24 hours to clear the navigation channel of debris after it fell. But, so far, there's no debris except  detritus from explosive devices.

Straessle said the bridge is a real danger to those who might venture on it. "Stay tuned. It could fall any minute."

Straessle volunteered that the failure of the bridge to fall was "a testament to how solid the structure was." It was built almost a century ago, though the steel arches were added 40 or so years ago when some changes were made in the understructure to widen the river navigation chann3el. It's a "science," he said of designing  demolition projects. "But, as you can see, the structure is still standing. We're seeking answers. As soon as we have some, we'll share them with everybody."

We covered the attempted demolition on Facebook Live from the Main Street bridge.

A worker was lifted over the bridge by a crane to inspect the impact of the explosive devices and to see what further work might be necessary. But Straessle said he didn't expect more explosions today. There's talk of attaching lines to tug on the structure to get it to fall. Said Straessle:

"Keep rolling your camera, it could fall in at any time."

The latest explanation is that everything worked, but "the bridge is falling into itself."

NOON UPDATE: Cables have been attached to bridge to a river vessel. They are going to give a tug and see if the thing falls. So far, no luck as of 1:30 p.m. after about four tugs. Shortly before 3 p.m., a fifth pull was attempted with a cable attached to the middle of the span. Still nothing. KATV reports a sixth pull might have added breakage at points where steel was pre-cut. Then, minutes later, on what a KATV reporter says was the eighth pull, down the steel came and stayed clear of the manned barge that had been doing the tugging. Onlookers gave a great cheer. Switching to a stronger tug for the pulling on the last try apparently did the trick.

Stuff happens, of course. But the failure of the effort before a statewide TV and Internet audience was an embarrassment for a department currently assuring the public of its certainty of the wisdom of its highly criticized plan for widening Interstate 30 through Little Rock to 10 lanes. That $600 million-plus project is to include replacement of another Arkansas River bridge.

SCREENSHOT KATV
  • screenshot KATV
You'll see the Highway Department attempted humor below. Also: There's now both a Twitter account and a Wikipedia entry for the Broadway Bridge.
click to enlarge SENSE OF HUMOR: Highway Department gamely tried.
  • SENSE OF HUMOR: Highway Department gamely tried.

Below is a photo taken from the Marriott last night. It shows the old Broadway Bridge (visible at lower left in this photo taken from the Marriott last night). It's also a good vantage point for work on the replacement span underway along the North Little Rock riverbank.


click to enlarge MOUNTAIN GIRL
  • Mountain girl
click to enlarge 'PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF': Said caption on HIghway Department Tweet with this photo.
  • 'PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF': Said caption on HIghway Department Tweet with this photo.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (37)

Showing 1-37 of 37

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-37 of 37

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • After the storm open line

    Flooding remains after a deadly storm that left damage over much of Arkansas. An open line for Sunday evening.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • LR City Board talks about crime and gang violence

    Police Chief Kenton Buckner talked to the Little Rock City Board this afternoon at a special meeting about violent crime and the role being played by gang activities. The police can do more — and will, he said. But police alone are not the solution for problems besetting the most crime-prone neighborhoods.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • Opponents of Little Rock school tax say construction possible without new taxes

    Opponents of an extension of 12.4 millions in Little Rock School District property taxes at a cost of $600 million or more say critical construction needs in the district can be made without a bond issue that lines the pockets of bond firms and lawyers.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Transgender electrician may sue employer over her firing

    Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has ruled that Patricia Dawson, a transgender woman, may pursue her lawsuit that she was wrongfully fired by her employer, H & H Electric, because of her sex.
    • Sep 16, 2015
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016
  • The plight of the refugees: Dark episodes in Arkansas

    Ernest Dumas reaches into history, some personal, for moments in Arkansas's view of refugees. It was brought to mind by the current crisis in Europe and the political divisions over whether the U.S. should respond to the needs of the displaced.
    • Sep 22, 2015

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation